Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year Program

What is the Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year Program?

 

The Georgia Pollinator Plants of the Year program annually recognizes four top performing landscape plants that support pollinators and grow beautifully in a garden. Plants will be recognized and promoted from the following categories: Spring Bloomer, Summer Bloomer, Fall Bloomer and Georgia Native. Seasonal selections may or may not be native.

Nominations are solicited from gardeners throughout Georgia and are then determined by a selection committee based on each plant’s horticultural value, ease of propagation and ecological significance. The selection committee has chosen the winning plants for the year 2022, providing interested growers a full year to increase their stock of these plants.

Our Goals

  • Create a network of horticultural professionals through which plant materials and propagation techniques can be shared.
  • Increase statewide availability and diversity of pollinator-supporting plants for consumers.
  • Educate consumers about the increasingly important impact that landscaping and home gardens can have on pollinator populations.

We recognize the need for collaboration across all steps of production and marketing, from grower to consumer, in order to improve availability of appropriate pollinator supporting plants statewide. This program represents the combined efforts of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, growers, entomologists, landscape professionals and conservationists across the state.

Get Involved

Plant lovers – Nominate your favorite pollinator plants. Anyone can participate in the nomination process. We want to know which plants Georgians think perform well in their gardens and support high pollinator diversity.

Nominate A Plant

Growers – Help us grow more of the winning plants. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will serve as a seed source for difficult to find plant selections. Limited quantities available.

Retailers – Let us know if you carry any of the winning plants in your store. We want to celebrate growers and retailers who are increasing the availability of pollinator plants.

Gardeners – Plant winning plants in your garden. Click here for a list of participating retailers.

Spring Bloomer – Blue Wild Indigo
Baptisia australis

About: Blue wild indigo is a 4-foot-tall perennial wildflower in the pea family. In spring, this plant has tall spikes of eye-catching cobalt blue flowers.

Propagation: Easy to propagate from seed. May benefit from soaking seeds in hot water before sowing.

Growing Conditions: Prefers full to part sun in well-drained garden soil with average to high moisture.

Conservation Value: Supports many native bees and other pollinators. Leafcutter bees utilize the foliage for nesting.

Consumer Appeal: Tall blue flower spikes are striking in mid-spring and last several weeks. Seed pods provide an interesting structure into the fall. It is low maintenance.

 

Summer Bloomer – Wild Bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

About: Wild bergamot is a perennial in the mint family that grows 4 to 5 feet tall, with long-lasting white, lavender or magenta summer blooms that attract many different pollinators.

Propagation: Easy to propagate from seed, cuttings and division.

Growing Conditions: Prefers full to part sun in well-drained garden soil with low to average moisture.

Conservation Value: Supports many native bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Consumer Appeal: Wild bergamot is low-maintenance and grows in a variety of soil types, from sand to clay. Its foliage is pleasantly aromatic.

 

Fall Bloomer – Aromatic Aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

About: Aromatic aster is a perennial wildflower in the sunflower family that grows 3 to 4 feet tall with purple flowers in the fall.

Propagation: Easy to propagate from seed, cuttings and division.

Growing Conditions: Prefers full to part sun in well-drained to average garden soil with high to low moisture.

Conservation Value: Supports many native bees, butterflies, hover flies and wasps.

Consumer Appeal: Aromatic aster is a low-maintenance wildflower that grows in a variety of soil types, from sand to clay. They bloom profusely in the fall. Their aster-type flowers have purple ray petals and yellow “eyes.”

 

Georgia Native – Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed
Eutrochium dubium

About: Coastal plain Joe Pye weed is a perennial wildflower in the sunflower family that grows 3 to 5 feet tall with profuse but tiny mauve flowers that bloom from July through September.

Propagation: Easy to propagate from seeds and cuttings.

Growing Conditions: Prefers full to part sun in well-drained to average garden soil with average moisture.

Conservation Value: Supports bumble bees, small bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Consumer Appeal: Coastal plain Joe Pye weed is a more compact species of Joe Pye weed, making it better suited for most gardens. It is low maintenance and has attractive foliage as well as a crown of lacy mauve flowers frequented by an abundance of bees and butterflies.